Flower Power offers new way for dispensaries to accept payment

Lindsay Barker

A graphic with funky text and marijuana leaves, used for Collegian Cannabis Coverage.
(Graphic Illustration by Falyn Sebastian | The Collegian)

Flower Power Botanicals is the first dispensary in the Fort Collins area to accept cryptocurrency as payment, an alternative to the usual cash or debit card transactions.

Cory Mitchell, Flower Power operations manager, views cryptocurrency as a welcome alternative. The steep fees on debit card transactions are often an obstacle both dispensaries and customers have to deal with.

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“I wanted a cheaper alternative that wouldn’t impact our customers — give them another option other than just cash — while also allowing us to not be penalized via transaction fees,” Mitchell said.

The cannabis industry has a tumultuous history with traditional banking institutions, and cryptocurrency presents a more streamlined way to conduct transactions. Because cannabis is still categorized by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule I drug, banks are hesitant to do business in the industry.

I was prepping for the long term, where people are doing home delivery and don’t want to use their debit card. It’s just another avenue to allow customers more choices.” –Cory Mitchell, Flower Power operations manager

The SAFE Banking Act of 2021 aimed to prohibit penalizing banks that provide services to “legitimate” cannabis-related companies. The act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, but its future as a law is still uncertain. This continues to put cannabis businesses in the risky realm of cash-only transactions, making crypto a viable alternative.

If a Flower Power customer chooses to use cryptocurrency, the process is quick and relatively simple. The dispensary conducted its first successful crypto transaction this past Sunday, Mitchell said.

“Our crypto system takes 15 seconds: (They) scan a QR code; it links to (their) wallet; they can pay and have a confirmation that the transaction was successful,” Mitchell said.

Cryptocurrency can make things easier for the customer while ensuring secure transactions and minimal fees. The customer has a crypto wallet, which can come in the form of an app or a physical device somewhat like a USB stick, according to the Coinbase website. The crypto wallet stores the customers’ private keys, which then give them access to their cryptocurrency. 

The dispensary currently accepts seven different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. These are all popular coins that are accepted by most major crypto wallets and exchanges. 

Flower Power is partnered with crypto merchant ForumPay, which owns its own cryptocurrency exchange. This provides a safer way to do business, Mitchell said.

“There’s no volatility risks, and they’re instantaneous live transactions where the price is real-time,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is also thinking of where the cannabis industry is headed in the future in relation to Flower Power’s use of cryptocurrency. 

“I know the home delivery service will come in Northern Colorado eventually,” Mitchell said. “I was prepping for the long term, where people are doing home delivery and don’t want to use their debit card. It’s just another avenue to allow customers more choices.”

Lindsay Barker can be reached at lbarker@collegian.com or on Twitter @lindsaybarkerj.